It’s really hip right now to be irritated by those who claim to be offended. “I’m offended that you’re offended” is the rallying cry of legion opinion-holders who are tired of not being able to express themselves.
Stacey Campfield wants to make t-shirts with that slogan. He’s sick of being told he’s offended somebody with his “don’t say gay” bill and his death certificates for miscarriages and whatever other punishing idiocy he comes up with next.
Two days ago I could kind of see their point. A friend of mine was talking about how the medication for a condition that was long undiagnosed had changed her life, making it much easier to function. She said something like “I should have been medicated years ago”. And along comes someone on a high horse announcing that SHE was offended because the medical-industrial complex forces needless medication on millions of people and the phrase “should be medicated” implies a power relationship with the medical yadda yadda yadda. It was ridiculous.
I have a knack for offending people and always have, not because I am a mean person (despite what many think) but because I was raised by a mother who believed in honesty at all times and a father with an analytical mind like mine. So I tend to say what I think, even if it isn’t the politest thing in the world. Yes, that dress makes you look fat and if you don’t want to look fat then wear something else. Well, you asked. And I don’t personally think “looking fat” is a bad thing. I’m actually offended by the idea of “looking fat” being the worst thing that could happen to a person. So if I say “yes, that dress makes you look fat” it isn’t–in my mind–the insult others seem to think it is. I’m fat. Would you ask a person of colour if your dress made you look “too black”, with a sneer around the word “black”? Oops. Back on topic.
It’s very easy to offend someone and even easier to take offense at something someone says. But I don’t think the key is to just sneer at “how easily offended people are” and then go on being yourself. I’m a blunt person who spends a lot of her time trying to not offend people because I know that by nature I am offensive. And as a Christian I think my first order of business is to be loving and kind. So I do try very hard.
Do I still offend people? You bet I do. Just ask anyone who has had any interaction with me. I’d bet they can name a time I either offended them or they watched me offend someone else. But the point is that whether or not folks are easily offended, we should still govern ourselves as best we can.
Or you can just give up and go buy one of Campfield’s t-shirts.